Renowned Somerset animal hospital Cave Veterinary Specialists has gained national recognition for its concerted efforts to drastically reduce its carbon emissions and cut waste.
The Linnaeus-owned veterinary centre, based in West Buckland, near Wellington, has earned silver status from Investors in the Environment (iiE), which runs the UK’s environmental accreditation scheme.
Cave’s award recognises the hospital’s comprehensive environmental initiative to cut emissions, waste and costs.
Most notably, the practice now sends zero waste to landfill off the back of the raft of new green measures introduced to increase sustainability, reduce environmental impact and emphasise the importance of reuse.
Will McFadzean, an EBVS and RCVS specialist in veterinary anaesthesia and analgesia, who oversees Cave’s green project, said: “As a practice, we take our environmental responsibilities extremely seriously so we’re delighted to have been awarded silver status by iiE.
“It’s taken a real effort and commitment from the whole hospital and shows that multiple small changes within a company can lead to an overall large impact on our carbon footprint.
“At Cave, we’ve put a detailed action plan in place to initiate change across the business to increase efficiency, reuse materials, embrace recyclable options and, in doing so, reduce waste.
“There’s now more, and larger, recycling bins around the practice and we’ve introduced blue recyclable hand towels to replace the white, non-recyclable ones.
“All bottles used in our pharmacy are recyclable and all new syringes are made from recycled plastic in a carbon-neutral factory, where possible.
“We also have a paperless referral process and send certificates via email rather than on printed card, while our lab reports can now be accessed online.
“It extends right down to providing recyclable and biodegradable drinks cups and bamboo stirrers in reception.
“It’s a long and detailed list which illustrates just how determined we are to make a significant change in the way we work and reduce our impact on the environment.”
Those key changes to everyday items are mirrored by the changes the practice has made in clinical settings.
Switching to low flow anaesthesia and ending the use of nitrous oxide gas is reducing the practice’s CO2 footprint by around 100 tonnes a year, while using microfibre colour-coded cloths, pre-soaked with vaporised peracetic acid instead of Clinell wipes, saves 8,000 wipes a month and £15,000.
The use of disposable theatre hats has been reduced and then replaced with reusable ones; disposable aprons have been replaced with wipeable clipping aprons and recyclable sterilisation packaging for theatre equipment is now being used.
Will has praised the whole Cave team for their efforts to date and has promised even more savings in the future.
He added: “It’s taken a committed and concerted effort across the whole hospital to get this completed but this is not the end. We are always looking for more improvements!”